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Mathematize It! [Grades 6-8]

Mathematize It! [Grades 6-8]
Going Beyond Key Words to Make Sense of Word Problems, Grades 6-8

First Edition

September 2020 | 264 pages | Corwin

Help students reveal the math behind the words

“I don’t get what I’m supposed to do!” This is a common refrain from students when asked to solve word problems.

Solving problems is about more than computation. Students must understand the mathematics of a situation to know what computation will lead to an appropriate solution. Many students often pluck numbers from the problem and plug them into an equation using the first operation they can think of (or the last one they practiced). Students also tend to choose an operation by solely relying on key words that they believe will help them arrive at an answer, without careful consideration of what the problem is actually asking of them.

Mathematize It! Going Beyond Key Words to Make Sense of Word Problems, Grades 6–8 shares a reasoning approach that helps students dig into the problem to uncover the underlying mathematics, deeply consider the problem’s context, and employ strong operation sense to solve it. Through the process of mathematizing, the authors provide an explanation of a consistent method—and specific instructional strategies—to take the initial focus off specific numbers and computations and put it on the actions and relationships expressed in the problem.
Sure to enhance teachers’ own operation sense, this user-friendly resource for Grades 6–8:

·         Offers a systematic mathematizing process for students to use when solving word problems

·         Gives practice opportunities and dozens of problems to leverage in the classroom

·         Provides specific examples of questions and explorations for multiplication and division, fractions and decimals, as well as operations with rational numbers

·         Demonstrates the use of visual representations to model problems with dozens of short videos

·         Includes end-of-chapter activities and reflection questions

How can you help your students understand what is happening mathematically when solving word problems? Mathematize it! 

The authors provide a detailed and practical guide on how to take a word problem, uncover the mathematics embedded in it, carefully consider representations, and use it all to solve the problem. The reader begins to realize that all models are not created equal. The authors’ careful attention to the nuances within mathematical relationships illustrates how mathematizing differs from answer getting, yet shows us that ideas like operation sense and computation are related. The authors’ plain language explanations empower us to leverage those relationships in order to help students become better mathematicians.

Paul Gray
Chief Curriculum Officer, Cosenza & Associates, LLC Past President, Texas Council of Teachers of Mathematics NCTM Representative for NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education

I can’t wait to use Mathematize It! in my work with teachers and students! The excellent examples, including actual student work and teacher commentaries, highlight the complexity of the problem situations in a way that is clear and usable for classroom teachers and for those of us who support them. The focus on operation sense, understanding the role that each quantity plays, and connecting representations to problems makes this a must read for anyone helping students become successful problem solvers. I especially appreciate the inclusion of non-whole-number examples!

Julie McNamara
Associate Professor Author of Beyond Pizzas & Pies (With Meghan Shaughnessy) and Beyond Invert & Multiply California State University, East Bay, Hayward, CA

This book is a must-have for anyone who has faced the challenge of teaching problem solving. The ideas to be learned are supported with a noticeably rich collection of classroom-ready problems, examples of student thinking, and videos. Problem solving is at the center of learning and doing mathematics. And so, Mathematize It! should be at the center of every teacher’s collection of instructional resources.

John SanGiovanni
Coordinator, Elementary Mathematics Howard County Public School System, Ellicott City, MD

Finally! An answer for equipping students in making sense of word problems. Mathematize It! clarifies the challenges in problem solving and gives concrete steps and advice on understanding problem contexts and the mathematics involved. The examples, student work, and videos throughout the book bring ideas to life, and make their implementation doable. This is a must-read for every math teacher who desires their students to truly understand the role of mathematics in the world.

Nanci N. Smith
Associate Professor, Mathematics and Education Arizona Christian University, Glendale, AZ Author of Every Math Learner

Sample Materials & Chapters

Sample Chapters_Mathematize It! Grades 6-8

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